National Law School of India University


The National Law School of India University (NLSIU or simply NLS) is a public law school and a National Law University located in Bangalore, Karnataka. It was the first National Law University to be established in India as well as one of the first in the country to offer the five-year integrated undergraduate law degree, post graduate law degree and doctorate law degree.[citation needed]

National Law School of India University
National Law School of India University Logo.svg
Motto in English
Those who protect the Law are protected by the Law
TypeNational Law University
Established1986 (1986)
FounderN. R. Madhava Menon
AffiliationBar Council of India
ChancellorChief Justice of India
Vice-ChancellorDr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy
Location, ,

The National Law School of India University was established by a statute passed by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Karnataka.[1] The statute states that Chief Justice of India serves as the school's chancellor. The day-to-day management and administration of the university is undertaken by the Vice-Chancellor. Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswamy is the current Vice-Chancellor of the university. The school is known for its highly competitive admissions. It has an intake of around 180 students in its undergraduate law programme, 75 in Masters of Law and 75 in its Master of Public Policy programme.


[2] The founding of the NLSIU was a culmination of over 2 decades of effort by a legal team including former Chief Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah, Ram Jethmalani and Upendra Baxi. Efforts were being made especially through the Legal Education Committee of the Bar Council of India to establish a university on the lines of the Harvard Law School. These efforts culminated when the Bar Council of India Trust and the Government of Karnataka reached an agreement to found the first National Law University in Bangalore. This agreement was in large part thanks to the leadership of Vinay Chandra Mishra who was then the Chairman of the Bar Council of India and the enthusiastic support of Ramakrishna Hegde, the then Chief Minister of Karnataka.[3] As such, in 1986, NLSIU was established under the stewardship of its founder, then Vice-Chancellor N. R. Madhava Menon.

Prof. Menon was keen on ensuring that the teaching at the university was not conducted in the traditional lecture format, which was then popular across Indian law colleges. As such, he introduced the case method, which originated at the Harvard Law School in the early 1900s. He also introduced the concept of group teaching, where more than one professor would conduct classes, with the professors taking contradictory positions and arguing the various points of law.

The University has since had five more Vice-Chancellors, namely N. L. Mitra, A. Jayagovind, G. Mohan Gopal, R. Venkata Rao, and Sudhir Krishnaswamy, who took over in 2019.

The first batch of law students joined the school's undergraduate programme on 1 July 1988. Classes commenced before the school's buildings had been fully constructed; thus, NLSIU actually began instruction at the premises of the Central College of Bangalore University and continued therein until November 1991. The school then formally moved to its present-day location in Nagarbhavi, a suburb of Bangalore.


One of the university buildings

NLSIU offers undergraduates a five-year integrated B.A./LL.B. programme which, upon completion, qualifies the student to sit for the bar to practice law in India.[citation needed] The LL.B. is the standard undergraduate degree in law offered in all common law countries[4] except the United States and Canada where the professional doctorate J.D. is conferred.[5]

The undergraduate B.A./LL.B. curriculum at NLSIU consists of a mix of social science and legal subjects. In the first two years, the law student attends courses on history, political science, sociology and economics alongside standard legal subjects, such as torts, contracts and constitutional law. In the latter three years, legal subjects dominate the curriculum. In 2017, NLSIU radically overhauled its academic curriculum, allowing students to choose a greater number of their upper-year courses. The aim of the change was to bring NLSIU in line with international best-practices allowing students to explore areas of their interest to a greater degree.[6] This overhaul was also aimed at increasing the number of courses offered by industry practitioners by allowing for flexible evaluation patterns.

NLSIU offers both coursework and research degrees at the postgraduate level. The LL.M. is a one-year coursework degree. The M.Phil., LL.D. and/or PhD degrees are research degrees.[citation needed]

NLSIU also offers a two-year residential Master of Public Policy (MPP) programme, organised in six trimesters.[7] Candidates are admitted on the basis of a Policy Aptitude Test, followed by interview. Seats are for scheduled caste, scheduled tribe, physically disabled candidates and foreign nationals.[citation needed] In 2016 the UGC has asked NLSIU to change the name of MPP to Master of Arts (MA) in Public Policy.[8]

In addition to the above full-time programmes, NLSIU also offers several part-time distance learning programmes, including a Masters Degree in Business Law (MBL) and Postgraduate Diploma programmes in various fields.[citation needed]


Admissions to both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes were based on Common Law Admission Test (CLAT). In 2015, for the Undergraduate CLAT, a total of 70,000 students contested for a mere 55 seats, making the examination one of the most competitive in India.[9] In 2020, NLSIU withdrew from the CLAT and announced it would be holding its own entrance examination, the National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT)(which was later turned down by the Supreme Court of India).[10]

For the MPP programme, candidates are selected through the Policy Aptitude Test followed by personal interviews held at the NLSIU campus itself.[11]

In June 2021, NLSIU announced a major expansion plan. The plan entails increasing the number of students enrolled on campus exponentially from 660 in 2021 to 2,200 in 2028. The increase in the number of students will mainly be as a result of implementing caste-based reservation quotas (required by law) and establishing a three-year LLB course (which are thus far not offered by any National Law University).[12]


University rankings
Law – India
NIRF (2022)[13]1
The Week (2019)[14]1
Outlook India (2019)[15]1
India Today (2022)[16]1

NLSIU was ranked first by India Today's "India's Best Law Colleges 2020",[17] Outlook India's "Top 30 Law Colleges in 2019"[15] and The Week's "Top Law Colleges in 2019".[14] The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranked it first among law colleges in 2022.[18]

Melgiri Memorial National Law LibraryEdit

The Narayan Rao Melgiri Memorial National Law Library at NLSIU is the largest law library in the country, housing a collection of over 40,000 bound volumes in addition to periodical holdings.[19][20][21] The Melgiri Library was inaugurated by Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti on 27 August 2005.[22] The library was built through generous contributions from the University Grants Commission (India), New Delhi and Sudha Murthy, Chairperson of the Infosys Foundation.[23]

UNHCR Chair on Refugee LawsEdit

In 1995, the first UNHCR Chair for Refugee Law was inaugurated at NLSIU.[24] N. Subramanya worked on issues pertaining to refugees during his tenure as researcher under the UNHCR Chair and in 2004 two of his books about refugees were published.[25]

Student activitiesEdit

The Student Bar AssociationEdit

The Student Bar Association (SBA) is the umbrella body that coordinates all student activities; all students are de facto members of the SBA. The SBA has created various Activity-Based Committees (ABCs) which are in charge of specific student activities.[26]

NLSIU has a total of twelve ABCs which coordinate the activities of the Student Bar Association (SBA). These committees are re-constituted every year. The Co-ordination Council consists of the Convenors/Joint Convenors of the ABCs. This Council is responsible for ensuring that the various ABCs function coherently. A wide range of internal as well as inter-institutional activities throughout the academic year are organised by the ABCs and the Co-ordination Council. These include Spiritus (Sports Festival), Strawberry Fields (Music Festival), the NLS-Trilegal International Arbitration Moot, the NLS Negotiation and Mediation Competition and Admit One (Theater Festival). Students are also responsible for the publication of Quirk, an online magazine at NLSIU, which seeks to provide space to engage in a meaningful and mature dialogue.[27]

Competitive debatingEdit

NLSIU plays an active role in promoting parliamentary debate in India. The school regularly participates in many international competitions and is currently the highest-ranking Indian team in the World rankings.[28] NLSIU reached the ESL Finals in 2002 and in 2007 at the World Universities Debating Championship. It also recently won the 15th All Asian Debating Championships held in Dhaka in 2008. Three out of the four semi-finalist teams, and six of the top ten speakers, were from NLSIU. Another boost for the Parliamentary Debate movement in NLSIU came in the form of the Cambridge University Debate Competition 2009, where the NLSIU team became the first South Asian team to "make the break" and reach the second round of the competition.[29] NLSIU teams have also performed extremely well in the inaugural Asians BP Tournament held in Chulalongkorn University, with all three of its teams reaching the semi finals of the tournament, and two out of the top ten speakers (and four in the top 20). Since then, NLS has reached the Semi-finals of the United Asian Debating Championships held at Assumption University, Bangkok, in 2010. The NLSIU team of Anil Sebastian Pulickel and Aniruddha Basu have also been finalists at ABP. NLSIU speakers are consistently ranked at the top of parliamentary debates at the national and international level.

NLSIU also hosts South Asia's biggest Parliamentary Debate Competition, the National Law School Debate.[30] The inaugural edition of the NLS Debate was held in 2002. The competition brings together participants from across South Asia. In 2011, NLSIU's Literary and Debating Society launched two new initiatives – the NLS Union Debate[31] and the NLS Debate Junior. Christ Junior College is also organising a parliamentary debate, in a tie-up with NLS.[32]

Moot court competitionsEdit

The entrance to the Justice Hidayatullah Moot Court Hall, named after former Chief Justice of India Mohammad Hidayatullah, at the university

NLSIU is the only law school in South Asia to have won the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition twice, in 1999 and 2013[33] and to reach its finals in 2018.[34] NLSIU has won the Monroe E. Price Media Law Moot Court Competition at the University of Oxford in 2021.[35] NLSIU has also won the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court competition in 2009,[36] 2012[37] and most recently in 2017.[38]

Student Exchange ProgramsEdit

Students from the 5th year of the undergraduate course can take the opportunity to spend a semester abroad as part of the student exchange program run by the NLSIU. The University has MoUs for the same with over 30 universities all across the world, including the Georgetown University Law Center, National University of Singapore and the Sciences Po. Students from a number of these universities also visit NLSIU on short-term and long-term exchange programs.

Graduate OutcomesEdit

Students graduating from NLSIU typically pursue a diverse range of careers. A number of students opt to join corporate law firms. The average pay for these students fresh out of college is around Rs. 14-15 lakhs. Apart from working in established law firms such as Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan & Co. or AZB & Partners, students also join smaller, boutique law firms and in-house roles. These may also include roles as business analysts in consultancy firms such as McKinsey and Co. Several students enter litigation careers, with a number of alumni having distinguished themselves in various courts across the country. Alumni also serve variously in the judiciary, whether as Judges of the High Courts or in the lower judiciary. A few students also get recruited to foreign firms such as Linklaters, Herbert Smith Freehills and Allen & Overy. Each year, several undergraduate students opt to pursue their graduate studies from esteemed universities across the world such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Yale Law School or Harvard University. Students from NLSIU have been regularly receiving a number of scholarships to pursue their graduate studies including the Rhodes Scholarship and the INLAKS Scholarship. It is worth noting that since its inception, NLSIU has produced an impressive 25 Rhodes Scholars.[39] Students have also chosen to write the UPSC Civil Services Examination and a number of alumni are placed in various levels in the bureaucratic set-up of the country. NLSIU alumni are also active in NGOs and Public Policy Think Tanks in India as well as abroad.

Notable alumniEdit

Notable alumni of the NLSIU include:

Journals publishedEdit

There are numerous journals published by the students and faculty at NLSIU. It is worth noting that the National Law School of India Review has been cited by the Supreme Court of India in two notable judgments including the Right to Privacy judgment, which is the only student-run law journal of the already few Indian law journals to have been cited by the Supreme Court of India.[43] A full list of the various journals published by the NLSIU is here-under:

  1. National Law School of India Review
  2. Indian Journal of Law and Technology
  3. Socio-Legal Review
  4. International Journal on Consumer Law And Practice
  5. NLS Business Law Review
  6. Indian Journal of International Economic Law

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The National Law School of India Act, 1986" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 November 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  2. ^ "About NLSIU". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  3. ^ "National Law Universities, Original Intent & Real Founders | Live Law". Live Law. 24 July 2017. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  4. ^ John H. Langbein, "Scholarly and Professional Objectives in Legal Education: American Trends and English Comparisons," Pressing Problems in the Law, Volume 2: What are Law Schools For?, Oxford University Press, 1996.
  5. ^ Association of American Universities Data Exchange. Glossary of Terms for Graduate Education Archived 2006-07-16 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 26 May 2008; National Science Foundation (2006). "Time to Degree of U.S. Research Doctorate Recipients Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machine," InfoBrief, Science Resource Statistics NSF 06-312, 2006, p. 7. (under "Data notes" mentions that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); San Diego County Bar Association (1969). Ethics Opinion 1969-5. Accessed 26 May 2008. (under "other references" discusses differences between academic and professional doctorate, and statement that the J.D. is a professional doctorate); University of Utah (2006). University of Utah – The Graduate School – Graduate Handbook Archived 2008-06-26 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 28 May 2008. (the J.D. degree is listed under doctorate degrees)
  6. ^ "Academic Reforms NLSIU, LegallyIndia".
  7. ^ "Master's Programme in Public Policy".
  8. ^ "UGC asks National Law School of India University to rename flagship course". 17 February 2016.
  9. ^ Legally, India (28 May 2012). "CLAT 2012 result: Top 200 ranks sit on 20 marks, highest 159/200". Legally India. Retrieved 7 April 2013.
  10. ^ "NLSIU Bangalore will not accept CLAT, to conduct own test for 2020-21, apply now". Hindustan Times. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "NLSIU Inclusion and Expansion Plan 2021-25". National Law School of India University. Retrieved 4 July 2021.
  13. ^ "National Institutional Ranking Framework 2022 (Law)". National Institutional Ranking Framework. Ministry of Education. 15 July 2022.
  14. ^ a b Pushkarna, Vijaya (8 June 2019). "Best colleges: THE WEEK-Hansa Research Survey 2019". The Week.
  15. ^ a b "Outlook India: India's Top 30 Law Colleges In 2019 Outlook India Magazine". Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  16. ^ "India's Best Colleges 2022: Law". India Today. 2022.
  17. ^ Cite error: The named reference Rankings_IT_L_2020 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  18. ^ Cite error: The named reference Rankings_NIRF_L_2020 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 August 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "".
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 10 December 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Karnataka / Bangalore News : Director thanks Dharam Singh". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 August 2005. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  23. ^ "National Law School of India University, Bangalore - 560072, Karnataka". Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  24. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (11 September 1995). "Information note on UNHCR's activities for refugee law promotion, dissemination and training". UNHCR. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  25. ^ V. C. Keshava, Exploring Mysore: a complete data map in a special style, V.S.R. Prakashana, 2004
  26. ^ "ABC Overview". 14 September 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  27. ^ "About us – Quirk". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  28. ^ "World Debate Website". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  29. ^ "NLS Debate | Organisers". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  30. ^ "Lanka Law School wins NLS Debate". Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  31. ^ "NLS Debate Union is Back". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  32. ^ "NLS Students Teach Student Debaters Verbal Warfare". The Bangalore Mirror. 4 November 2011. Archived from the original on 19 July 2012. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  33. ^ "NLSIU Bangalore wins the 54th Jessup International Moot Court Competition".
  34. ^ "Breaking: NLSIU Bangalore WINS the Jessup world cup of mooting after 14 years".
  35. ^ "International Rounds 2021". 11 March 2021.
  36. ^ "NLSIU makes mooting history: India wins Manfred Lachs for the first time". Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  37. ^ "NLS Bangalore wins Manfred Lachs space moot grand slam after 3 years [Update]".
  38. ^ "2017 Lachs Moot Court winners » International Institute of Space Law". Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  39. ^ "NLSIU Website, Rhodes Scholarship".
  40. ^ "Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy: The 100 Most Influential People of 2019". TIME. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  41. ^ "Tata Power".
  42. ^ "Prof.Dr. Sudhir Krishnaswamy – NLSIU". Retrieved 27 February 2020.
  43. ^ Bangalore, NLSIU. "National Law School of India Review (NLSIR) - EBC Webstore". Retrieved 5 July 2018.

External linksEdit

  • Official website